Oakland, CA asked in Personal Injury, Construction Law, Landlord - Tenant and Small Claims for California

Q: Dust got into my tenants unit from a roofer's work and now they are claiming damages of $20K+. Who's liable?

Hi, I am a landlord with a tenant who is trying to claim $20K of personal property damages after I hired a licensed/contracted roofer to do work. They are saying that the dust broke their computer and damaged some worn shoes. The roofers are trying to deny responsibility, but they did not require that we get them access to the tenants unit and they did not cover any vents, doors, wall heaters that was open to the roof/chimney that they did work on. I'm looking for advice on next steps that I can take. Thank you in advance.

1 Lawyer Answer
James A. Greer
James A. Greer
  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Boulder, CO
  • Licensed in California

A: Dear Landlord regarding Tenant Claim about dust intrusion: The tenant's claim is one for negligence, and goes something like this: it was reasonably foreseeable for the roofing contractor to know or reasonable should know that their construction work would result in dust intrusion and therefore they were responsible to take reasonable measures and my Landlord also failed to take reasonable measures in not requiring measures set forth in the construction contract, and thus they are both jointly liable. A claim of negligence can be "tendered" to the roofer's CGL Insurance Policy and if the carrier's representative finds that dust and property losses were actual "resultant damages" caused by the roofer's negligence then the carrier would be obligated to reimburse the Tenant for actual resultant damages. Therefore, it would be my recommendation that you "demand" that the roofer tender the Tenant's claims to the roofer's insurance carrier. Best wishes, going forward. JAMES GREER

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